Is It Safe to Take Halcion While Pregnant?

Halcion is a brand-name drug. The generic and active ingredient in Halcion is triazolam. Triazolam is classified as a benzodiazepine and a central nervous system depressant. Halcion is a sedative, used for the treatment of insomnia. Halcion has other properties as well as being a sedative. It’s an amnesiac, anticonvulsant and it has properties of a muscle relaxant. Halcion is intended to be prescribed for the short-term treatment of insomnia and, in some cases, sleep disorders related to an interruption in circadian rhythm, like jet lag. Halcion is a benzodiazepine that starts working very quickly, and it has a short half-life. Halcion would likely only cause an individual to fall asleep for one to two hours. It’s sometimes used in medical procedures because of the short time it works. Adverse side effects linked to Halcion include dizziness, coordination problems and feeling lightheaded. Also possible are changes in heart rate, confusion, depression and visual disturbances. Rare but possible side effects include dry mouth, weakness and constipation.

There is a risk of misuse associated with the link of Halcion and other benzodiazepines as well. These drugs can cause euphoria and other desirable effects. If so, a reward cycle may be stimulated in the brain which can then lead to an addiction. Physical dependence can occur with Halcion. If someone takes Halcion for a period and stops suddenly, they may have withdrawal symptoms as a result. Symptoms of Halcion withdrawal can include cramping, vomiting, sweating, tremors and sometimes convulsions. An overdose of Halcion can occur as well. Symptoms could include respiratory depression, extreme drowsiness, slurred speech and sometimes seizures. An overdose from Halcion is more likely when it’s paired with other central nervous system depressants.

So, is it safe to take Halcion while pregnant? The answer is no; Halcion is not safe to use while pregnant. The FDA classifies Halcion as a category X drug. The FDA classifies medications and substances based on how safe or risky they may be during pregnancy. Category X drugs have the highest levels of risk associated with their use. A category X drug is one with demonstrated fetal abnormalities believed to be linked to its use during pregnancy. There is evidence of risk to a fetus, and the risks of a category X drug outweigh any potential benefits that could be associated with its use. Along with the direct risks of Halcion on a fetus, there are possible indirect risks. For example, if a pregnant woman is using Halcion, she’s at risk of falling or being in an accident, which can harm or kill an unborn baby.

Risks of Taking Halcion While Pregnant

The use of benzodiazepines like Halcion while pregnant is associated with an increased risk of a cleft lip and palate. The risks of Halcion causing birth defects is even higher when it’s used during the first trimester and major fetal development is occurring. If someone is using Halcion by prescription, they are advised to ensure they’re using effective birth control. When benzodiazepines are used during pregnancy, there have been symptoms of toxicity seen in newborns. Benzodiazepine toxicity symptoms in a newborn can include sedation, floppy muscles and breathing problems. The higher the dose of a benzodiazepine used by a pregnant woman, the greater these risks.

Babies Born Addicted to Halcion

When a mother uses Halcion or another benzodiazepine while pregnant, it’s possible the baby will become dependent on them while in the womb. When a baby is dependent on Halcion, withdrawal symptoms may occur following birth. Infant withdrawal is called neonatal abstinence syndrome. The symptoms can vary significantly in severity and longevity. Some common neonatal withdrawal symptoms are muscle weakness, respiratory problems, irritability, excessive crying, tremors and sleep disturbances. If a baby has symptoms of withdrawal, they may require specialized care in the NICU.

Alternatives to Taking Halcion While Pregnant

If you use Halcion and you become pregnant, don’t stop taking it suddenly. If a pregnant woman goes through withdrawal from a substance, it can be dangerous for her and her unborn baby. However, you should speak with your healthcare provider right away. A doctor may be able to prescribe alternatives to taking Halcion while pregnant. For example, a doctor might advise the patient of a prescription sleep aid that’s considered safer during pregnancy. Another option might be an antidepressant or an over-the-counter sleep aid like Unisom. Some doctors may advise pregnant women go with a natural alternative. A doctor might have various alternative therapies for insomnia that don’t require any medication. Regardless of the alternatives a doctor suggests, a slow taper-off Halcion might be required to prevent withdrawal. Don’t stop taking Halcion or start using anything, including vitamins and supplements, without first consulting with your healthcare provider.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.